There is tremendous potential for economic growth in our state, particularly when we build upon our strengths. We need elected officials who have real life experience in helping economies grow. I received my Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Chicago, and used my education to further a passion for public service both at home and abroad. As one of the ‘first responders’ on an economic development team for the Peace Corps, I spent two years working to re-build a badly broken economic system in Ukraine. When I returned home, I used my business skills to provide opportunities for community members who were struggling to provide for their most basic needs.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy; it's important to me as a Mainer to support our local small businesses and as your Senator to support legislation that helps our small businesses grow and create jobs. In the 126th legislature, we passed a bill that extends the Maine Seed Capital Tax Credit program which provides a tax credit to people who invest in Maine's small businesses. In 2012, Maine businesses received more than $4.5 million through this program; and since its creation, nearly 130 Maine businesses have received capital. Extending and improving the program will help even more Maine businesses expand and create jobs.
We also passed a bill to help businesses increase access to startup funding through crowd investing. Like crowdfunding through Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, crowd investing allows entrepreneurs to sell small amounts of capital to investors to raise the startup funds for their businesses.
In addition, we approved a $12 million bond to help small to mid-size businesses expand and create jobs. Although Governor LePage vetoed the bill, the Legislature overrode his veto, and the bond was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the 2014 election.
This past year I co-sponsored a Research & Development bond bill to foster technology investment that helps Mainers prepare for tomorrow's jobs.
For Maine to prosper, our public schools must produce well-educated, innovative, and creative graduates who want to use their talents here to continue to build a better state. To do that, educators must be able to focus on educating our state’s children without the burden of excessive, unfunded mandates and unforeseen cuts in aid from Augusta. As your Senator and as Senate Chair of the Education Committee, I successfully advocated for roughly $90 million in additional state education funding and supported the inclusion of language that would require 1% increases in state funding in each subsequent year. I will continue to fight for the state meeting its obligation for the 55% funding level. As a graduate of Maine’s public education system and with children in our public schools, I am committed to maintaining the quality our citizens have come to expect.
As a state that values independence and individualism, all Mainers are entitled to equal protection under the law—regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. As your state senator, I will continue to stand-up for equal marriage rights for all Maine citizens, and will not waver on my support for a woman’s right to choose—period.
Environment and Renewable Energy
As Mainers, we are privileged to live in a state that offers so much natural beauty. From mountains, to farmland, to the beautiful ocean vistas, we are surrounded by splendor in all corners of our state. I was proud to co-sponsor the Act to Support Solar Energy Development in Maine, as I am commited to moving Maine's energy policy toward one that does not rely so heavily on fossil fuels. Maine is the only New England state that does not have a solar incentive program, and when we as a state spend up to $5 billion a year importing oil, I will work hard to make sure Mainers have the options our neighbors enjoy when it comes to clean cost effective alternatives. To get Maine moving in the right direction, I co-sponsored the Maine Solar Enery Act to promote local solar energy development, generation, manufacturing and jobs. As your State Senator, I promise to make sure our state’s precious resources our protected for generations to come.